Skip to main content

Full text of "The Cambridge Natural History"

See other formats


xi                                    s< SPECIES " OF GIRAFFE                               303

new-born young.     The  orbits are  completely encircled by bone,

and there is no lachrymal fossa, su common in Deer and Antelopes.
There are no canines above ; but these are present in the lower
jaw. The rudimentary digits of other Ruminants have dis-
appeared in this genus. There are fourteen pairs of ribs as in
many other Artiodactyla. The liver of the Giraffe l is, as in
many, but not all, Ruminants, devoid of a gall-bladder ; neither
has it a caudate or a Spigelian lobe. The caecum is actually
largish (2-g- feet in length), "but is relatively very small, as the
small and the large intestines measure 196 uncl *75 feet in
length respectively. The Giraffe has a well-marked u ileo-
caecal " gland, found in many Huminants ; its appearance in
G-iraffa is especially compared by Garrod with its appearance in

Considered by itself, Giraffa forms a very isolated type of
Ruminant. But after we have dealt with certain facts con-
cerning extinct forms clearly allied to GirttjfFa, the isolation of
the family will be found to "be less marked.
The Giraffe (" one who walks swiftly," the word means in
Arabic) is, as every one knows, limited in its range to the African
continent. It is not, however, so familiar a fact that there are
two quite distinct species of Giraffe, one a northern form from
Somaliland, and the other South African. The distinctness of
these two, Cr. cameloyardalis and O. av straits, has been lately
worked out in some detail by Mr. de Win ton.3 The principal
point of difference between them consists in the large size of the
median horn in the Cape species, which is represented by the
merest excrescence in the other species. The Giraffe of West
Africa is held to differ from the northern and southern species^,
coming nearer to the former. It appears in the first place to be
a larger animal, and slight differences in the skull have been
pointed out. This series of peculiarities may be expressed, for
those who do not object to trinomial nomenclature, by calling
this novel western form Giraffn camel opcwdctlis perttfta. The
existence of the three horns covered with unaltered skin is the
main characteristic of this Ungulate. But the Giraffe also differs
front other Artiodoetyles by its enormously long neck, which
enables it to browse upon, trees inaccessible to the common herd
1 For the viscera, see Garrod, Proc. Zw>l, S&c. 1877, p. 5, etc. ; and &id. p.
289, eta                                                      * Proc. &&&L Swz. 1897, *>. 273.